The Oglethorpe baseball team enjoyed an excellent start to their 3-game series with the visiting Centre Colonels on Saturday, as they swept a doubleheader from their SAA foe. The Stormy Petrels emerged victorious 9-2 in the first game, then blanked Centre 8-0 in the second. The wins improved the team to 15-11 on the season overall and 5-6 in SAA play. The Petrels have now won six straight games and eight of their last nine.
The second of the two games featured an outstanding pitching performance from sophomore left-hander Kyle Babb, who delivered his first career shutout. He pitched all 7 innings and allowed just 5 hits while blanking the Colonels on the evening. He walked three and struck out eight.
Babb's masterful performance allowed the Petrels to cruise to victory. They scored all the runs they would need in the second inning, as they put four across. Junior left fielder Adrian Celata led off the inning by reaching on an error, and junior second baseman Matt Motz followed two batters later with a single down the line, putting runners at the corners with one out. Motz stole second, allowing a subsequent run-scoring single from freshman shortstop Sam Held to score a pair of runs and give Oglethorpe a 2-0 lead. Junior third baseman Connor Crooke singled after that, putting runners at the corners again, before a double steal from Held and Crooke scored another run. Crooke later came home on an RBI single from junior catcher Bobby Rezac, giving Oglethorpe their 4-run advantage.
They added four more in the eighth inning. Junior center fielder Jarvis Miller started with a walk, and with two outs, Celata extended his career home run lead with a bomb to left-center, giving Oglethorpe a 6-0 advantage. Oglethorpe continued to rally after that, loading the bases with a pair of singles from Mink and Motz and a hit-by-pitch from senior designated hitter Austin Ferlita. Held drove in a pair of runs with a single up the middle, bringing the Petrels to their final 8-0 scoreline.
Held went 2-for-3 for the contest, driving in four runs and scoring one. Motz also went 2-for-3 with 2 runs scored, while Celata went 2-for-4 with the 2-run homer.
In Game 1, the Petrels got an excellent pitching performance from junior right-hander Matt Davis. He allowed just 5 hits through 7 innings, as well, and allowed only 1 run while walking two and striking out nine. He picked up the victory, improving to 5-2 on the season.
Oglethorpe picked up a couple runs in the second inning to take the lead. Centre answered with a tally of their own in the third, but Oglethorpe broke the game open with four runs in the fourth. Motz, Ferlita and Crooke all singled, sandwiched around a fielder's choice. Then Rezac followed with a 2-run single to make it 4-1. That set the stage for senior right fielder Brandon Fish, who launched a 2-run homer to make it 6-1.
The home side added a run in the fifth, then put up two more in the eighth on a 2-run single from Celata.
For the game, Fish went 2-for-5 with a home run and a double, while Rezac went 2-for-5 with 2 RBIs and a run scored. Mink finished 3-for-5 with a double.
"We got two really good pitching performances today from Davis and Babb," said Oglethorpe head coach Dan Giordano. "Both were able to locate multiple pitches and keep hitters off-balance. Offensively, we came up with some key hits in both games. I thought we put together some really good at-bats throughout the day from top to bottom. We're looking to come out Sunday and play with the same energy we had today."
The Petrels will close the 3-game series Sunday at 1 p.m. from Anderson Field, then will hit the road for games against No. 3 LaGrange and Millsaps.